89 of 98 people found the following review helpful
Freud, Hamlet, Murder and New York History,
This review is from: The Interpretation of Murder (Paperback)
OK I'll admit it I'm a fan of the Richard and Judy book club! When I heard the review of this book I knew that I would have to read it, as it deals with three of my favourite things: - Freud, Murder literature and New York (not necessarily in that order). The author is the current Robert R. Slaughter Professor of Law at Yale University. At Princeton he wrote his senior thesis on Freud and at the Juilliard School of Drama studied Shakespeare. Both of these influences are clearly seen in this his first novel. The title is a play on Freud's famous work `The Interpretation of Dreams', the central character Nora, is modelled on the case study of `Dora' and many references are made to the Oedipal explanation of Hamlet.
This book is a work of fiction, but there are some historical truths. Freud did indeed make his one and only visit to New York in 1909, along with Jung. His biographers have long puzzled over the trauma that must have happened there as he refused to speak about it and in fact labelled Americans `savages'.
The story begins with Freud's arrival in New York, the very next morning a beautiful heiress is found bound and strangled in her apartment. The following night another, Nora Acton is discovered bound and wounded, but still alive. The attack has left her unable to speak or remember anything about her ordeal. Freud and a young American, Stratham Younger are enlisted to help Nora Action recover her memory in order to catch the killer.
Being a thriller, the story has numerous twists and turns and, of course, the obligatory twist at the end. However, along the way it beautifully blends fact and fiction, psychoanalytical theory and a vibrant picture of New York society and history. I was particularly fascinated by the engineering and human story behind the construction of the Manhattan Bridge. I hadn't realised that many men had died from the effects of decompression as a result of working below the surface in caissons building the foundations of the bridge. Discoveries were made then, that still benefit divers today, about how to minimize the effects, by slowly coming to the surface, in order to reacclimatize the body.
I thoroughly recommend this book to you. Once I started I could not put it down. Slip this book into your suitcase; it will make a brilliant holiday read.